Federal Loans to Students

Unlike grants or work-study, a loan is money that must be repaid. You, the student borrower, are legally obligated to repay your loans so we encourage you to fully read and understand the terms and conditions before accepting a loan. Please note: You must repay your loans even if you do not complete your program. The minimum requirements for obtaining a federal loan are a completed FAFSA application, admission into a degree-seeking program, and at least half-time (6 credits) enrollment. At Colorado Northwestern Community College, we encourage students to make informed decisions when taking out a student loan. Only borrow the amount of funds that you need to successfully complete your education. The maximum amount a first year student (29 credits and below) can borrow is $5,500; no more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. The maximum amount a second year student (30 credits and higher) can borrow is $6,500; no more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Federal Loans to Parents

If a dependent student needs additional funds to meet their estimated cost of attendance, parents can request a Parent Plus Loan to cover remaining educational expenses. Parents must contact the financial aid office to request a Plus Loan. Unlike grants or work-study, a loan is money that must be repaid. You, the parent, are legally obligated to repay your loans so we encourage parents to fully read and understand the terms and conditions before accepting a loan. Please note: You are responsible to repay your parent loans even if your student does not complete their program.

What are the interest rates for a Federal Direct Student Loans?

The interest rate for a Federal Direct subsidized loan is 5.50% with a first disbursement date between July 1, 2024 and June 30, 2025, the interest rate for a Federal Direct unsubsidized loan is 6.53%, and the interest rate for the Federal Plus (parent loan) loan 9.08%. These rates are fixed, a fixed rate will not change for the life of the loan.

Students must fill out a FAFSA at studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa to be able to apply for a Federal Stafford Loan.

To obtain your Stafford student loan follow these steps:

  1. Log into your “Crossroads” account at www.cncc.edu and accept your loans.
  2. Complete an Entrance Loan Counseling at https://studentaid.gov. – Hover over "Complete Aid Process" button. Select Complete Entrance Counseling. (You will need your FSA ID you created to fill out the FAFSA)
  3. Complete your Master Promissory Note at https://studentaid.gov.

Once these steps have been completed, your loan will be certified by the financial aid office. Direct student loans pay out in two disbursements usually this is fall/spring, single semester loans are still paid out in two disbursements with the first half being paid out after the drop date of classes and the second approximately one month later. For first time borrowers the first disbursement is always 30 days after the first day of school.

Other important financial aid information

What about alternative/private loans?

(Alternative or Private loans are not administered through the Direct Loan program) Some programs, such as Aviation Technology, Aviation Maintenance and Dental Hygiene, have costs higher than the federal loan limits can cover. Other programs, such as refresher courses and short certificate programs (less than 15 weeks), may not be eligible for financial aid. An alternative loan may be the only option for meeting educational expenses. Due to the economic crisis alternative or private loans are becoming harder to obtain and can have a much higher interest rate.

*NOTE: Be sure to explore all sources of funding before applying for an alternative/private loan.


How do I get a private/alternative Loan?

It is against federal truth-in-lending laws for schools, or their representatives, to recommend specific lenders to students. 

The best way to find banks that provide private/alternative student loans is to do a web search and type in "alternative student loans". This will give you a list of potential funding sources. Once you pick a lender you need to make sure they will loan to you for attendance at Colorado Northwestern Community College. Note: not all banks loan to students attending a community college. Some lenders will require you to have a co-signer. The lender will do a credit check on both you and your co-signer so make sure you pick a credit worthy co-signer. Once your loan has been approved by the lender they will notify the financial aid office to certify the loan. The financial aid office will certify that you are enrolled and that you are eligible for a certain amount of money. Students cannot borrow more than their cost of attendance. Depending on the lender, and type of loan you choose, they may ask you for your cost of attendance.

You can contact the financial aid office at 970-824-1125 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to obtain this information.

Review your loan history If you have forgotten who your lender is or how much you have borrowed; check out the NSLDS Student Access web site at www.nslds.ed.gov.  All Direct Loan and Parent Plus Loan information is submitted to NSLDS and accessible by authorized agencies, lenders and institutions. 

Loan Disbursement

All loan funds will be sent to CNCC. Funds will not be mailed directly to your home. Loans are disbursed in two or more equal disbursements. Your first disbursement will be no earlier than the end of the drop/add period, with the second disbursement occurring midpoint through the loan period. Single semester loans are disbursed in two disbursements. Each loan disbursement will be assessed an origination fee, the origination fees are assessed by lenders to help offset the cost of processing the loan. The fee is 1.057% for loans disbursed between October 1, 2024 and September 30, 2025.

Once you are ready to graduate, or before transferring from CNCC, you must complete a Loan Exit Counseling Session. This session will focus on your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower, as well as repayment provisions. Exit loan counseling can be done by going to studentloans.gov.

Loan Repayment Schedule Estimate

Use the following chart to help estimate the repayment amount of your student loan(s). Contact us if you’re having trouble making your payments, or to learn more about other repayment plan options, including plans based on your income. Visit StudentLoans.gov to use a customized Repayment Estimator. See how much you’ll pay monthly and overall based on your loan information:


(Interest rate for Direct Loans with a first disbursement date between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017)

Larger Chart


The Federal Direct Loan Repayment Estimates chart is based on the following: Standard repayment plan and assume equal monthly payments over a period of up to 10 years (120 months). The minimum monthly payment required under the standard repayment plan is $50. Some loan balances will be paid in full in less than 120 months. Dollar amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar. Amounts shown are estimates only. Your actual payment and interest amounts may vary. 


*In 2015 CNCC had a cohort default rate of 9.02% compared to the National Average of 10.8%. For the 2016-2017 aid year approximately 27% of all undergraduate students received Federal Student Loans.  46% of First Time, Full Time students received some type of student loan aid. The full report can be found here.


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About CNCC

Colorado Northwestern is one college in two Colorado communities. Depending on what you want to study, CNCC has the perfect surroundings and facilities to meet your needs. Founded in 1962 as “Rangely College,” CNCC now serves nearly 1,600 students on two campuses, two service centers and online. Our two campuses are located in Craig and Rangely and are 90 miles apart in the mountains and canyons of Northwestern Colorado.